One of the most common mistakes people make when they plan to open a coworking space is they think it’s as simple as renting a location and adding a few desks and chairs to it. According to the annual Deskmag Coworking Survey, only 40% of coworking spaces are profitable, which serves as proof that opening and running a coworking space is no small feat.
Hundreds of new coworking spaces are blossoming every month across cities and countries. Though the coworking industry has experienced steady growth over the past few years and the barrier of entry is quite small, being successful in this industry requires careful planning and budgeting. In an industry crowded with thousands of operators, standing out from the competition is tough and it can be the defining factor between a profitable and unprofitable space.
Don’t be discouraged by this, it only means that before you make the jump, you should make some calculations and keep in mind certain key things.
1. Location, location, location
The location of a coworking space will dictate a significant percentage of the foot traffic a space gets. Your coworking location should be easily accessible by car, bike, public transportation, or walking. Think about parking and other amenities (restaurants, shops) that can increase the value proposition of your space.
2. Design carefully for space and community
One of the core pillars of coworking is community so you need to make sure your workplace design contributes to community-building. When laying out the space, you can’t just think about how many individuals you can fit per square footage, you have to think about how people will interact with the space and how it can help encourage certain interactions.
3. Utilities, furniture, and amenities
Before you set out to buy a ping pong table, offer free beer, or have a slide, think carefully about the necessary and basic utilities you definitely need to have. These include a robust internet network, electric plugs, printers, etc. The same goes for furniture, before you buy a standing-desk or walking-desk, make sure you invest in the furniture that will be used the most and will contribute to a comfortable, productive workplace experience.
4. Start building your community before you open the space
Although most people are familiar with coworking by now, there’s still a lot that can be done, especially in suburban areas and tier 2 markets where coworking is not as familiar or as popular. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming people will come to your space once you open it. Truth is, you have to start making a name for yourself before your space opens, consider hosting a few meetings or attending a few events where you can talk to people about your space and why it could work. You can also use these opportunities to gather insights about what people really need and want from a workplace.
5. Hire the right and necessary help
Running a coworking space requires a lot of time, knowledge, and effort. You can’t do it all by yourself. Hiring community managers, marketers, salespeople, and an IT expert can take your space to the next level. The right help will contribute to a better workplace experience and it’ll help you focus on the areas that need your utmost attention.
If you’re thinking about opening a coworking space and don’t know where to being, reach out to our team. We can help with planning, budgeting, hiring, training, and much more.